An Ode to Uniform Dressing

By Desta Cullen
4th Apr 2016

I’m a longtime admirer, wannabe devotee, of uniform dressing.

It’s certainly not new; there are countless fashion mavens (think Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Jeanne Damas, Emmanuelle Alt, and Alexander Wang to name a few) quietly espousing this philosophy by rocking what’s essentially the same outfit every day.

Even two of the most powerful men in the world—Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama—consider themselves uniform dressers. (Let’s not forget Steve Jobs!) 

Sure, their motivation is a little more weighty than mine (when you’re making decisions on a global scale you don’t really want to worry about if your butt looks big in those chinos) but the principle is the same: fashion that functions as an extension of your personality, without overtaking the more important stuff.

To Uniform Or Not To Uniform?

Some people may see it as laziness, even a lack of imagination, but I disagree. The ability to be a uniform dresser actually conveys a deeper level of self-awareness, and an unfaltering commitment to a sense of style that’s uncomplicated and fulfilling all at the same time.   

Uniform dressing—aka capsule or minimalist fashion—is the answer to those long, doubt-filled moments spent agonising over your outfit. It’s the sum-of-all parts approach, and something that French girls boss at. 

Which brings us to the million dollar question: what is your uniform? I’ll admit, I still haven’t nailed mine; my inner-bowerbird wants what it wants (usually something lairy, colourful and OTT) and I’m struggling to break my habit of panic buying to fill holes in my wardrobe that don’t exist.

But the rules remain, and much like the general concept of style, uniform dressing is chameleonic and blends into your life so figuring it out is easy. Think of it as clothing curation.

The Uniform Rules

1. Know your body: aka don’t wear clothes that don’t fit or make you feel uncomfortable. What makes you feel good? What shapes suit your frame? Find the cut of jeans or trousers that works on your bod’ and hold on for dear life.

2. Think in a palette: The base of your ‘uniform’ will be whatever palette you happen to choose. Maybe it’s black and white? Perhaps you love pastels? If rainbow is your thing, groovy, but stick to it. 

3. Classic is key: This applies to both shapes and colours. You want things that will evolve with you; trend driven cuts and shades are great in the moment but how are they going stand up to the relentless cycle?  

4. Buy well: Material and make matters. Choose natural fibres that have been designed and tailored well. It doesn’t mean you have to spend a-gazillion bucks on everything but make sure you’re thinking critically about where you spend your money.  

5. Don’t forget the flair: You’ve got the clothing part sorted and your baseline set. But uniform fashion doesn’t have to be all the same outfit, all the time. Now that you know where home base is, you can deviate. Play with jewellery, makeup and accessories to imbue your uniform with the undefinable you.

6. Cut back: Less is certainly more in this case. Cull the shit. Buy fewer items, of better quality so you can see the forest for the trees in your closet, without getting overwhelmed.

At the end of the day though, we’re big believers that fashion rules are made to be broken, so remember that uniform dressing is an approach to style rather than do or die and life will be sweet!  

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